Exercise Less?!

Exercise can be bad when we go through the motions of our default movement patterns. We just pack on more muscle imbalance that causes a subconscious stress on our mental and physical state, affecting our physiology. Then we cope with drugs, alcohol, food, sex, whatever dopamine fix we need to temporarily feel better. We enter the cycle of trying to outwork our coping behavior and beating our body up in the process, but we can only do that for so long until we feel “old” because our habits caught up with us.

Taking a few steps back to heal our body with intentional movement might not feel or look like society’s idea of exercise but it starts to retrain our brain and body to function better, promoting muscle mass that is symmetrical and “balanced” to help us respond to stress better. Then when our muscles are in balance we’re consciously and subconsciously able to handle stress more efficiently- physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, etc. and then we don’t feel the need to cope. Then it comes time to break out of the habits that we developed from coping that we no longer need.

This behavior change is painful and uncomfortable but time well spent and can start seeing changes in weeks for little things, months for some bigger things, and sometimes years for habits we’ve built over our entire lives. This is the change that helps our physical health- from muscle strength, weight loss/ weight maintenance, hormone balance- which in turn helps our mental health like anxiety, mood, depression, and the ability to not have to cope the way we used to. And when we do need to cope we are able to be more aware of what we’re doing and why, and maybe not even coping the same way we did in the past because our stress response is improving.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t exercise, as most doctors and so called fitness experts will tell you that you need to eat less and move more to stay healthy. But if you move wrong and use your muscles in a state of imbalance then all of the above cataclysm of events happen- and that’s not healthy. You need to understand more about your body in order to make sure you behave in a way that promotes health. When you’re over exercising and under eating for so long, your body’s hormones get thrown out of whack and it makes it a lot harder to lose weight and body fat. You end up spinning your wheels trying to lose weight or build muscle but you’re fighting an uphill battle, up  a water slide. When you learn to fix your muscle imbalances when you “exercise” instead of just going through the motions of various movements, you’ll be able to address the subconscious stress on your body- aligning your posture and your hormones. This equates to a healthier body inside and, most importantly, outside of the gym!

Contact our gym to learn how our team can help you start and sustain your journey to a healthier you!

Something is NOT always better than nothing

Something is not always better than nothing. Usually it’s the other way around, the mindset that something is better than nothing. Jogging for a few minutes is better than not moving at all, but not if jogging causes your knees or your back to hurt.

Our trainers are of the mindset that something is not better than nothing, if something causes pain or adversity. Instead we teach you something that is better for your body and your needs. This ensures that you continue to make progress and you can sustain your fitness as you age. Because what’s the point of doing something if it wrecks your body and you aren’t able to do it for long.

Pushing past joint pain because you need to jog in order to lose weight for an upcoming wedding or because you keep gaining weight, isn’t healthy. It would be healthier to do something with your diet and eating habits and lose weight by addressing those. Then you can use exercise as a way to strengthen your body by moving correctly instead of rushing through a workout because you feel the need to punish your body for being overweight. Punishment during a workout often means pain after the workout.

If this sounds like you then you need to consider why you exercise. Do you want to lose weight, do you want to be strong, do you want your muscles to work so you don’t have pain? All of the above are possible but your path to achieve them needs to be intentional and holistic. Meaning you shouldn’t feel like you need to outwork a bad diet, food should be fuel used to give you energy for your day or a workout. It shouldn’t be used to cope from stress or overeaten regularly. Exercise should be used as a tool to build a strong and stable body progressively overtime and not a means to an end.

Diet and exercise work together to help your health and fitness. Rushing through a half-assed workout isn’t how your body was meant to be trained. The mindset that something is better than nothing isn’t a healthy one because it promotes a half-assed result. Spinning you in circles, not losing weight but not gaining extra weight from an unhealthy, unsustainable cycle. Lose the haphazard “something is better than nothing” motto because it’s limiting your potential.

How Do You Feel?

The state that your body is in on a regular basis should be an indicator of how fit you are. Your body should feel good after taking on the demands placed on it. If you’re hurting, limping, stiff, and sore in the wrong places then your body is warning you that something is off. It’s best to listen to the warning signals before your body feels irreparable.

Another aspect to consider is how you feel during and after an exercise or an entire workout. Training should prepare your body for life outside of the training room. Obviously there is appropriate muscle soreness related to an exercise that targets a certain muscle, but soreness shouldn’t permeate into the joints. When your joints feel sore or stiff from exercise, a good possibility is that your muscles aren’t working properly and your joints are picking up the slack. There’s also exercises that exacerbate compression, meaning your muscles are working but the technical aspect of the exercise causes compressive forces throughout the body. This usually manifests as muscle soreness accompanied by stiffness and rigidness when you try to move.

If you’ve been following us for awhile, you know the importance of efficient movement. When your body can’t move optimally it starts to compensate and alter your mechanics. You need to have some rhythm when you move to transmit force evenly throughout your kinetic chain. When you’re rigid, your movement gets altered and your function isn’t optimal. Then the entire point of exercise is missed because you can’t handle the demands of the real world appropriately.

Functional Fitness Part 2

We know by now that our body is one integrated unit, so repetitive movements that isolate it into sections cause disconnections throughout your kinetic chain. In our previous post Functional Fitness Part 1 we highlighted some exercise techniques that get a lot of hype, but don’t necessarily deliver the most bang for your buck. In this post we’ll explain why we believe there are better methods to ensure prolonged health and fitness for your body.

We know that the human body evolved to walk upright on both legs, so regressing your training to crawling movements won’t help your daily function. Yes, you’ll feel your muscles working and your brain will think you’re doing something good for your body, but since we don’t walk on our hands our shoulders need a different kind of support relative to our legs. So crawling movements won’t enhance or coincide with the functions of human movement discussed in our previous post- standing, walking, running, and throwing.

HIIT workouts are stressful on your body, and too much stress spikes cortisol and makes it hard to lose fat anyway (plus it’s cumbersome on your joints and hard to sustain for more than a few weeks without some form of pain or injury). So if you’re doing HIIT workouts to lose weight, do the longevity of your body a favor, and stop eating so much. Then just exercise to stimulate muscle tissue in a manner than mimics the way it functions in the real world, so you can sustain your fitness as you age.

Powerlifting can make you stronger but usually at the expense of hernias, stress fractures, disc herniations, torn tendons and ligaments, and compression on your spine. So it’s high risk, low reward because once you injure yourself it’s hard to recovery back to 100%. And in reality why do we need to lift such heavy objects? Humans have developed brains to work smarter not harder. We’ve developed pulley systems, levers, and machines to move objects and do the heavy lifting for us. Compared to other animals, like a silver back guerrilla, we are extremely weak. So the next time you need to move a piece of furniture use a friend to help, or on those rare occasions when you need to move a big rock or firewood, use a wheelbarrow. And get strong at what you do most, standing, walking, running, and throwing. This will help cultivate strength that you can use without damaging your joints.

We share these thoughts to spread relevant information about the human body and the repercussions of the way we treat it. If you like what you do and your body feels okay, keep doing it. But if not, we offer an alternative way to train and sustain your health and fitness.

*Hint; check out the picture from this post, and our last one. Compare how confined the squat pattern is, versus the running one. The bar on the back causes compression, and the running (assuming your joints are adequate- we can help with that) can engage the entire body through horizontal force distribution and create strength and mobility that you can use more often.

Vanity Training

The problem with exercising exclusively for how you look without addressing how you function, is it’s not sustainable.

Just like a car that isn’t working, a new coat of paint won’t fix the problem under the hood.

The new paint job will make it look good, but eventually it will break down and you’ll have to admire the paint job without using the car.

Eventually the new paint job will rust because you’ll neglect the car that you can’t drive.

Just like a body that “looks good” but you can’t do anything with it. The looks you busted your butt for will fade because your body is in too much pain, injured, and broken to actually put in the work to keep your body looking good.

If you pursue functional mechanics when you exercise, the exercise will carry over long after you’re done working out. Your body will feel good, you’ll be able to move well, and your body will look good as a result of proper training. Training that is sustainable and supports the complexities of the human body.

Alignment 101

The position of (fill in the blank) influences the rest of your alignment. Because our body is interconnected, one structure’s alignment will influence another’s. For example when your pelvis is out of alignment, it pulls your spine out of its natural alignment. The spine’s position effects the position of your ribcage, head and neck, as well as further down your chain in your knee and ankle joints. Basically your center of gravity is thrown off.

When you’re misaligned, muscles pull you in directions you otherwise wouldn’t be in, to fight for “balance” and trick your brain into thinking everything’s positioned where it needs to be. You’re alignment (or lack of) influences how well you stand and move, and that influences how your body responds to its environment, functionally or dysfunctionally. The latter leads to pain and injury.

The Kinetic Chain

MUSCLE INTEGRATION MAKES UP EFFICIENT MOVEMENT. THIS IS BECAUSE ALL OF OUR MUSCLES ARE LINKED THROUGH THE KINETIC CHAIN. IN OTHER WORDS, WHAT HAPPENS IN ONE AREA OF THE BODY HAS A DIRECT OR INDIRECT EFFECT ELSEWHERE.

THE POWER OF THE KINETIC CHAIN CAN MAKE MOVEMENT THERAPEUTIC BECAUSE IF YOU HAVE KNEE PAIN, THE PAIN COULD BE CAUSED BY WEAK GLUTES. SO BY STRENGTHENING THE GLUTES, YOU RESOLVE YOUR KNEE PAIN.

IMAGINE YOUR KINETIC CHAIN LIKE A ROW TEAM, WHEN ALL YOUR TEAMMATES ARE ROWING AND DOING THEIR PART, THE BOAT MOVES WITH LESS EFFORT. BUT WHEN ONE OF THE ROWERS ISN’T DOING THEIR JOB, IT PUTS MORE RESPONSIBILITY ON THE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE TEAM. THE TEAM GETS TIRED FASTER, BECAUSE EACH MEMBER GETS OVER WORKED,

WHEN LINKS ARE WEAK AND NOT DOING THEIR JOB (LIKE THE ROW TEAM ANALOGY), MOTOR COMPENSATIONS DRIVE YOUR MOVEMENTS. WHEN YOU DON’T MOVE WITH OPTIMAL MECHANICS YOU RISK INJURY AND REPETITIVE  DYSFUNCTIONAL MECHANICS LEAD TO PAIN.

IT’S IMPORTANT TO GET YOUR KINETIC CHAIN LINKED UP AND FUNCTIONING LIKE A ROW TEAM THATS IN SYNCH. WHEN YOU EXERCISE IN A WAY THAT ADDRESSES THE WHOLE SYSTEM AND THE WAY IT INTERCONNECTS, YOU BUILD MUSCLE FOR THE WAY YOUR BODY IS GOING TO USE IT IN REAL WORLD CONDITIONS.

 

Action shots from our hard working clients

All ages and stages of life working with our trainers to learn how to improve their biomechanics, to move better in life outside the gym!


The only gym in San Antonio certified to teach your body Functional Patterns!


Our trainers teach exercises that go hand in hand with your body’s natural movement. Allowing your muscles to get strong, mobile, pliable, and supportive simultaneously!


Most importantly, the gains made in the gym translate to life outside of the gym. Achieve real world strength to help your body everyday. Whether you’re looking to improve your general fitness, prevent injuries, rehab existing ones, or manage chronic pain- our gym is your one stop shop!

Hydration

Staying hydrated goes deeper than drinking enough water.
If you’re going to the bathroom every hour after drinking, it means your cells and muscle tissues aren’t absorbing any of the fluid. Likely because they’re stagnant and unable to conduct a current because they lack proper muscle contraction.

Imagine your tissues like a dried up, crusty wash rag you use to clean your body. When it’s dried up it doesn’t work well, but when you wet it, it becomes pliable again and able to function and get those hard to reach places. The dried up rag is like dehydrated muscle tissue, when your muscles are dehydrated they don’t work well. When your muscles don’t work well the contribute to more strain on your joints and overuse of other muscles. To get water to the muscles, you need to learn how to move better so that your muscles start contracting in places that they normal don’t (dehydrated stagnant tissue getting hydrated), when these more efficient contractions start happening more fluid is pumped to the tissues and they become hydrated, pliable, and ready to work better.

Try this; if you have any areas on your body that feel tight or restricted, palpate them like you’re trying to massage them and see how they feel. Compare to the same muscle on the other side of your body. If they’re dehydrated they’ll likely feel hard, misshapen, and not a lot of give to them. Whereas a muscle that’s hydrated you can sink into when you poke it, the contours of the muscle will feel smoother, and the shape of the muscle is full. Think about it as “stiff” vs. “gooey.”

To learn more, check out our latest post on Social Media or our “Fascia” Highlights on Instagram for a full video breakdown!

Our Trainer’s Aren’t Cheerleaders

At this gym you won’t find trainers that cheer you on to finish reps just to say you completed the set. Instead you’ll find trainers that coach you through the ins and outs of each rep to ensure your performing the exercise correctly.

You’ll be taught exercises specific to your body and what you need relative to the goals you have. You won’t be shown an exercise just to get your heart rate up and sweat pouring just to make you feel like you worked out hard.

We don’t see the point in getting your body moving fast and hard in the beginning, if you’re going to default to moving incorrectly and compensating your way through a movement. We take things slow to ensure that your brain and body are connecting on the same level and you’re learning how an exercise should feel, what muscles are working, and why you need to do it a certain way- when all your body wants to do is move through the path of least resistance, tricking your brain into thinking you’re doing it right.

So if you want learn how to exercise instead of just going through the motions (setting yourself up for pain and injury), book an initial consultation with our trainers today. This isn’t the Orange Theory’s, F45’s, CrossFit’s, or the Gold’s gyms of the city- we personalize our unique approach to training the human body. The way it was meant to be trained to prevent injuries and rehab existing ones, in the process of building strength and mobility that translates to the real world.